Confirmed: Scott McLaughlin to make IndyCar debut this year at Indianapolis
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After months of speculation, it's been confirmed by Team Penske that Scott McLaughlin will make his NTT IndyCar Series debut later this year at the Indianapolis road course GMR Grand Prix event in May.
The Kiwi and two-time Supercars Championship title winner recently tested an Indy car at Sebring, impressing team boss Roger Penske among others at the highly publicised day. He becomes the first Supercars champ since Marcos Ambrose to springboard from the tin-top series to a America's premier motorsport championship.
Photo / Team Penske
“This is an amazing opportunity – to race against some of the best open wheel drivers in the world on one of the most historic tracks in motorsports,” said McLaughlin.
“I’m excited about the challenge of trying to win a third-consecutive Supercars championship while helping to keep the Shell V-Power Racing Team at the front of the field this season. I’m also really looking forward to this new opportunity.
“It’s a driver’s dream to get a chance to race an Indy car for Team Penske. With the experience I gained at the test in Sebring, I know a little bit more about what to expect when I get back into the car at COTA. I just want to learn as much as I can every time I’m in the car so I can make the most of the opportunity to race with the team at the Grand Prix in Indianapolis.”
"We believe his talent and his drive will continue to shine behind the wheel of an Indy car," added team boss Roger Penske.
"It will be interesting to see how he continues to develop as we work up to his first race at the Indianapolis Grand Prix. We know Scott will work hard to improve with every lap and he will represent Team Penske well as he gets acclimated to the IndyCar Series."
McLaughlin is widely tipped to be shifting to America following the closure of this year's Supercars Championship, having claimed that critical Bathurst 1000 win last October. Among the challenges will be finding space for McLaughlin in Penske's exceptional current driver line-up, which consists of Will Power, Josef Newgarden, and Simon Pagenaud.
Should the move come to fruition, McLaughlin will join Scott Dixon as yet another Kiwi to make it to the heights of IndyCar.
"I chat to Scott fairly often," Dixon said in a recent Radio Sport interview. "Obviously I keep a strong eye on any of the Supercars races – I watch them all.
"I've known him for a little while and spoke to him quite a bit before he did the [IndyCar] test and a little bit after the test he did at Sebring. And then there's word that he might do a couple races this year or maybe just the open test.
"It'll be interesting. It's definitely very different I think from what he's done in the past. But he's an extremely talented person and very capable so I think it would be fantastic to have another Kiwi over in America in the IndyCar series."